Why Can’t I Lose Weight?
You might have put on a few extra pounds in the last year, but you’re definitely not the only one. We’re all trying to get healthier after a stressful year. As you try to lose weight, do you feel like you’re doing everything you should but still don’t see the numbers dropping?
Don’t worry. We have some ideas that will help you meet your health goals and shed the extra weight.
Commit to Better Sleep
Our founder Dr. Juan is constantly talking about the importance of sleep to help a variety of health conditions. Did you know that the amount of sleep you get is just as important in losing weight as diet and exercise? Research indicates that getting insufficient sleep may lower your resting metabolic rate (RMR), which is how fast you burn calories when you’re not moving.
Another important thing to know is that your sleep affects your hunger hormones. Ghrelin is released in the stomach to signal to your brain that you are hungry. On the opposite side, fat cells secrete the hormone leptin, which suppresses hunger and signals that you’re full. Inadequate sleep interferes with these hormones.
One study tested hormone levels of 1000 participants who got only 4 hours of sleep per night for 5 nights. Their ghrelin was elevated 14.5%, and their leptin reduced by 15.5%.
Sleep deprivation also raises your level of cortisol, the hormone associated with stress, which can increase your appetite. Not only that, it’s harder to make healthy food choices when you’re tired, so it’s important to prioritize sleep and manage stress when you want to lose weight.
For those that have trouble falling or staying asleep, natural supplements such as melatonin and passionflower tea can really help. In addition, ashwagandha has supported people to manage their stress.
Track Your Calories
You might feel like you’re eating healthy, but you may be eating more calories than you realize. Tracking your food can really help you understand what and how much you eat.
For a couple of weeks, write down or use an app to record everything you eat and how many calories it has. Some things may surprise you. For example, oatmeal is considered a healthy option for breakfast but can quickly turn into a calorie landslide when you add whole milk, dried fruit, and brown sugar.
Once you have tracked your food for a while, you’ll start to see where unwanted calories are sneaking in.
Another advantage to tracking is that you can “budget” your calories like you would your paycheck. If you’re planning to eat pizza with friends at dinner, you can add the slices into your food diary ahead of time. Then you will know how many calories you can “spend” at breakfast and lunch.
One devious calorie bomb is soda and other sugary drinks, which can often have around 40 grams of sugar—almost as much as 3 cups of ice cream! These calories add up very fast but don’t help you feel full.
Choose Foods That Help You Feel Full
When you’re trying to eat fewer calories, you might feel hungrier. That’s ok. Make things easier for yourself by consuming foods that help you feel full but aren’t calorie dense. For example, a pound of french fries contains 1,415 calories, but a pound of broccoli has only 153, so broccoli is a low-calorie-dense food.
Make low-calorie-dense foods the foundation of your diet: veggies, fruits (fresh, not dried), whole grains, Greek yogurt, fish, and legumes.
Eating adequate fiber and protein will also help you stay full. Fiber slows the emptying of your stomach and helps regulate hunger hormones.
And people who eat sufficient protein report feeling more satisfied throughout the day and don’t think constantly about eating.
Fall in Love with Water
Our bodies are 60% water, which means we need to be drinking enough water to, among other things, feel full. One study found that participants who drank 2 cups of water before a meal ate 600 fewer calories than those who didn’t.
Sometimes that hungry feeling you have might be thirst. Start each day with a tall glass and add a glass before each meal.
Many people think that intense aerobic exercise such as running or using an elliptical machine is the best form of exercise when you want to lose weight. These exercises can help, but you may not know that strengthening your muscles will help burn calories even when you’re not exercising.
Muscle tissue requires many more calories to maintain than does fat tissue. If you increase your muscle mass, your resting metabolic rate goes up and you can keep burning calories even while you sleep. It might be time to add some resistance training to your daily workout.
Finally, don’t be discouraged if the results aren’t as fast as you would like. The number on the scale may not budge for a week or two, even if you are taking care of yourself properly. A plateau can be discouraging and cause people to quit their good habits. If you push past that feeling and keep doing the right things, you’ll be sure to slim down and feel great.
Let’s get healthier, together,
Your friends at Santo Remedio
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